Our founders, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley, believed passionately that land, arts, and collections reveal who we are as a people: past, present, and future. They were deeply committed to the communities in which they lived – the Chicago region and the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

The Foundation helps strengthen and sustain the communities of the Chicago Region and the Lowcountry of South Carolina by supporting equitable and inclusive access and engagement with land, art, and collections.

Natural land is scarce, threatened and, once lost, may be gone for all time. Natural lands—preserved and restored on a landscape scale—are critical to the well-being of wildlife, plant life, and human communities.


Artistic expression is vulnerable to changing societal priorities as well as controversies about the value of art and the characteristics of excellence. Arts organizations—creatively accomplished and operationally strong—are the backbone of our regions’ artistic vitality.


Collections—accessible to the public and creatively interpreted—urge us to consider where we have been, where we are now, and where our next steps might take us.


In our grantmaking and other work, we support partnerships that bring together people from diverse backgrounds who value and nurture the natural environment, artistic vitality, and collections. We call upon our history, community connections, and experience to act as an active participant, innovator, and thought leader.